I haven't said this many times this year, but I'm going to predict that Ernie Halter Live is going to show up on my best of list at the end of the year. It's been on heavy rotation ever since I started spinning it a couple of weeks ago, and it isn't losing any steam. It's the first time I've listened to Ernie Halter, so it's surprising to me that it's a live album, especially after doing some digging, when I found out that he's only been around for a few years now and only has three albums under his belt (and one of them a low budget self released affair). Listening to it though, I think the live atmosphere plays right into his style, and really is what drew my ear into it.
His music, both in form and feel, is either a soulful blues or bluesy soul, depending on the track and your mood at the time. It's got that very genuine approach which plays well in the live setting that the album was recorded. There's nothing exotic, it's simply well played music that shows you what it is and draws you in as such. You'll find hints of John Mayer here with some of Ernie's guitar work and vocals, as well as some Stevie Wonder with some superb piano playing (listen to Yes I Am, a new song, to see what I'm talking about with this). Of the album's eleven tracks, ten of them come from his previous albums (Yes I Am being the one that hasn't been recorded on tape before), but having picked up his last one this week (Starting Over), you can definitely hear and feel a difference between the studio versions and the live versions, with the latter being more enjoyable for me.
The album was released exclusively on iTunes earlier this week, but will also be available starting on the 20th at his live shows in physical format. It was recorded over the course of a month on the road, and you can hear the opening track Something's Come Over Me below, which just may be my favorite track on the album. You can also listen to one from his last album, Played, which does not appear on this new, live album.
and one from his last studio album: